This student applied in the 2022/23 application cycle and therefore the selection process at Southampton may have changed since then. You should read all the information a University sends you about the selection process to get the most up to date details!
Remember to check out the glossary at the bottom of the page for our explanations of all the jargon we medical students like to use!
More about this student
Sometimes students share information with us about their demographics, which may help put their application experience into a bit more perspective.
This student identifies as a mixed woman and went to a comprehensive school that doesn’t regularly send students to study medicine.
Course: Standard undergraduate entry
Online panel interview
Admissions Tests: UCAT, BMAT.
Before I made my application…
Choosing to study medicine
When did you decide to apply to medicine?
Since as long as I can remember!
How did you choose which universities to apply to?
Proximity to my home town.
I also did not want to study in London as I don’t think I would have been able to afford it.
Completing work experience
What types of work experience did you do?
Hospital shadowing, Online work experience
How much work experience did you do?
I shadowed a gastroenterologist, who was associated with my college, for one day, which was an invaluable experience.
I did some of the Brighton and Sussex Medical School Virtual Work Experience course.
I also read medicine related books e.g. This is Going to Hurt, Being Mortal, the Care Crisis, When Breath Becomes Air, Do No Harm, and Medical Ethics- A Very Short Introduction.
How did you find your work experience opportunities?
A doctor working with the college I went to asked if I wanted to shadow him for a day.
During the application process…
What admissions test did you sit?
University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT): https://www.ucat.ac.uk/
Biomedical Admissions Test (BMAT): Southampton doesn’t use the BMAT to select applicants and the BMAT won’t be used after the 2023 application cycle!
How did you prepare for your admissions test?
For the UCAT, I used the Medify website the most as I could chose specific sections that I wanted to practice and the amount of questions that I wanted to do. I also preferred it because the UCAT is on the computer as well. I also did all of the practice tests from the UCAT website.
For the BMAT, I used the Blackstones Tutors book because I though that my test would also be a physical paper (it was online due to COVID).
I was inconsistent with how often I would practice, which resulted in me not doing as well as I had hoped.
What resources did you use?
UCAT website, Medify for the UCAT, Kaplan Score Higher on the UCAT book.
Blackstone tutors BMAT Past Papers Worked Solutions book.
What type of interview did you do?
Panel: This type of interview is a ‘traditional’ sit down interview where you’ll be interviewed by a group of people, usually academic tutors and doctors. This differs from an MMI interview, which is based around ‘stations’ which have themes or scenarios attached to them.
How did you prepare for your interview?
I watched mock panel interviews on YouTube to try to understand the flow of a medical interview. I also did some research on COVID tests and vaccines and how they both worked. The day of my interview I also made sure to reread my personal statement and made sure I could remember the key take aways of books and experiences I mentioned.
What happened during your interview?
I remember my interview’s focus being mainly on my personal statement, which involved the interviewers asking specifically about things that I mentioned such as my volunteering and a book. They also asked more general, personal questions. I did not have to work with a group or read a source.
I was less nervous for this interview as it was the last of 4 that I had and I felt more experienced by then. The interviewers for Southampton were very friendly and eased me into the interview. They seemed very interested in what I had to say, which allowed me to be my most authentic and honest.
I think that the interview took about twenty to thirty minutes. There were no additional instructions. I was sent a Teams link, which I joined at my allocated time.
Do you have any final advice?
1. If you can’t get clinical experiences, read books AND discuss them with anyone who will listen (my mum in my case)! If you read multiple, just mention one in your personal statement and make sure you can summarise your main take away briefly. I would also recommend picking up a volunteering experience so that you are socialising with people outside of you age group and shows the interviewer that you have transferrable skills.
2. If your UCAT score is lower than what you were hoping for, don’t panic and apply anyways because your personal statement and circumstance could still secure you an interview!
3) If you play an instrument as a hobby but not at a high grade, you can still mention it in your personal statement. Think about what it has done for you- did you give someone lessons on it? Did it make you start a blog or a social media account dedicated to music? Did it make you want to pick up another instrument? The interviewer wants to see personality as well as curiosity and dedication.
Clinical work experience: Not every student will complete clinical work experience before they apply to medical school. Don’t worry, this is not required to be able to apply. You can use non-clinical work experience (e.g. a caring role, like in a care home) or even reflect on paid work you’ve done (e.g. in customer service) in a productive way.
Brighton and Sussex Virtual Work Experience: This is a free ‘virtual’ work experience course that explores different roles within the NHS as well as six medical specialties. It also consider some of the challenges and wider issues doctors face. Find out more here.
Paid-for resources: Some students choose to pay for courses either online or in person to help them prepare for admissions tests and interviews. There is no evidence that they give you an advantage. There are good, free alternatives for preparation for admissions tests and interviews, and some offer bursaries and discounts to students who come from low income families. Check out our guides and uni websites for more details.
Medify: Medify is a popular website which provides resources for helping you prepare your medicine application. Medify has some free resources online but some are paid-for. There are good, free alternatives for preparation available online, so check out our subject guides and the university websites for details.
YouTube: There are many current and recent medical students who create videos on YouTube about their experience and advice about applying. Remember that their experience is personal and individual, and may not reflect yours. They might provide some useful advice but remember that they might be advertising paid for services. Take their advice as part of a more holistic approach alongside moderated advice such as ours, and official advice from universities and test providers.
Books: Don’t worry if you’ve not been able to find this particular book or afford to pay for it. You might be able to find secondhand copies online which are usually much cheaper, or at your local library (sometimes, libraries will order in books that you’ve requested, so check out this as a possibility too!). Bear in mind that some books may become out of date, so make sure you check when they were published, and if any changes to the relevant admissions tests/interviews have been made since then.
Support networks: While not every student will have a support network to help them prepare, there are plenty of other ways to prepare for your admissions tests and interviews, such as through free online resources, like on our website.